Common Cause/NY Responds to Proposed NYS Court Changes: “This is Not Reform”

In response to recent news that the New York lawmakers are proposing changes to New York Court System, including eliminating the Commission on Judicial nominations and creating new judicial reporting requirements, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY issued the following statement:

“Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to begin the process for confirming two new judges to the Court of Appeals. Then, the very same lawmakers plan to turn around and pass a budget with a provision that changes the rules of the nominating process to give them more control. Although the court system absolutely requires reform, eliminating the independent Judicial Nominating Commission demands a public hearing process. Attempting to ram through an 11th hour so-called “reform” – even one subject to a ballot referendum – is just a brazen power grab.

The current proposals, not only to eliminate the Judicial Nominating Commission but also to create new judicial reporting requirements which give the Legislature and Governor further control over the courts, is not reform. They are a step to further politicize the courts and rob them of any semblance of independence. Independent courts are the last defense against fascism. Placing them under even more direct political control than they already are in New York undercuts our democracy and eliminates checks and balances. Addressing the very real need for court reform demands extensive public discussion leading to a thoughtful, nuanced approach enacted through a formal process with sufficient notice.”